There is no better way to get to know an MBA program (and for an MBA program to get to know you) than to make an on-campus visit. However, you can also learn quite a bit about a program from online research. If, for whatever reason—distance, a busy work schedule, or cost restraints—you find that you cannot visit a school in person, online research is a valuable alternative! MBA programs have made significant investments in technology to improve the school research process through virtual tours, webinars, online chats with admissions officers, and access to student ambassadors and club leaders.
Here are five tips to make the most of your virtual and on-campus visits:
1. Identify the right people to meet.
Although you might wish you had a private session with the admissions director, think about what you really need to know BEFORE meeting with anyone on the MBA admissions team. If you’re interested in real estate, for example, contact officers in the Real Estate Club and read about the professors who teach classes in that field. Look at the profiles of student ambassadors who’ve worked in an industry like yours and have similar post-MBA goals. The people who have done what you hope to do will be a great source of information about the classes, clubs, and community in your area of interest.,school’s graduateswhenThe people who have done what you hope to do will be a great source of information about the classes, clubs, and community in your area of interest.
2. Do your homework.
Watch online webinars from your target schools, and read about centers and programs of interest to you. Write thoughtful questions that you can ask when you meet with school staff members. Whether your meeting takes place virtually or in person, you will make a much better impression if you can demonstrate through your questions that you have already conducted some great research on the program.
3. Follow up.
After meeting with school officials, students, or alumni, be sure to follow up on the information you were given during the discussion. This might mean reaching out to another student organization or another admissions officer. Also, follow up by expressing your appreciation to people who took the time to share information. Think about how you might also be able to share useful information in return. For example, if you had a conversation with someone about fintech and you find a relevant article that could be useful to that person, send it along to continue to build that relationship.
4. Be likeable.
Your meetings—whether in person or virtual—are an opportunity to build relationships. The more thoughtful and pleasant you are, the more likely your contact will be helpful to you during your meeting and beyond. Respect other people’s time. Keep scheduled appointments if at all possible, and reach out right away if something truly unavoidable happens and you need to reschedule. Look for ways to establish a connection—whether through shared interests in sports or geography or other areas—as a way to improve your conversation.
5. Know when to stop.
Too much of anything—even a good thing like doing school research—can be harmful. No one can have access to every piece of information, and there is a limit to how much time anyone can spend answering your questions. Keep your appointments within scheduled time limits, and be mindful of sending too many emails to one person. Remember that student club leaders are students first and they are juggling very busy schedules, while admissions officers have perpetually overflowing inboxes. Therefore, be mindful of how many times and how often you email someone.
Your thorough research will shine through in the quality of your MBA applications and will increase your odds of landing a spot in the MBA program that truly best fits your needs.
All of the counselors at Stratus Admissions have succeeded in securing their own admission to top MBA programs, and they understand how to help you as well. Please reach out to us for a free consultation to help you as you navigate the MBA admissions process.